Book: The Postman


I love this book. I adore it. Also, there’s this strange new-found infatuation with Pablo Neruda.

The Postman

Originally titled ‘Burning Patience’, this novel by Antonio Skarmeta was an inspiration for the film II Postino. I feel that the original title fits the book better, since it is a story with a lot of passion and overflowing with so many different emotions. Yet at the same time, it tells a story of waiting for what you desire, of separation and longing. Intertwined with the love story of the postman is the history (fictional in some aspects) of Pablo Neruda. A really interesting character in Chile’s history. A Nobel Prize Laureate and an amazing poet. His character is probably the driving force and the focus of this book. He is the matchmaker of the story, while his poetry plays a huge part in the book, and it’s a beautiful introduction to his work.

Here on the Island, the sea, so much sea. It spills over from time to time. It says yes, then no, then no. It says yes, in blue, in foam. It says no, then no. It cannot be still. My name is sea, it repeats, striking a stone but not convincing it. Then with the seven green tongues, of seven green tigers, of seven green seas, it caresses, kisses, wets it, and pounds on its chest, repeating its own name.

I don’t even like poetry and I’m simply bowled over by the rhythm and the images it conjures.

The novel is also really funny! It’s just brilliant!

My son, I am merely a poet. I do not possess the eminent talent of disemboweling mothers-in-law.

Of course at times it is sweet and heart-wrenching.

I wanted to send you something other than words. So i put my voice inside this cage that sings. A cage that is a bird. It is a present for you. But I also want to ask you a favor that only you, Mario, can do. All my other friends either wouldn’t know what do to or would think I was a foolish, ridiculous old man. I want you to take this tape recorder around Isla Negra with you and tape all the sounds and noises you can find. I desperately need something, even if it is only a shadow, from my home. I am not well physically. I miss the sea. I miss the birds. Send me the sounds of my house. Go into the garden and ring the bells… Then go down to the rocks, tape the crashing of the waves. And if you hear the gulls, tape them. And if you hear the silence of the stars, tape it. Paris is beautiful, but it like a suit a few sizes too big for me.

The novel has managed to blend fact and fiction. The beautiful passionate romance between Mario  and Beatriz is an absolute joy to read. The role that Pablo Neruda plays in the story, displays his influence and the subtle trinkets of Chile’s history is really interesting. I really enjoyed the book and highly recommend it. It’s not too long, and flows well, the characters are full of life and vibrancy, and I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to Pablo Neruda. I cannot wait to read his works.

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  1. […] after The Postman, I had to taste some of Pablo Neruda’s works first hand. I chance upon this particular […]

  2. […] when I mentioned my current infatuation with Pablo Neruda? I’m sorta, kinda, really obsessed with him. And this has translated to borrowing almost […]

  3. […] Children, The Postman, Italo Calvino also The Young Animator Training Project and Pablo […]



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